The Danville Diploma

Last week, my colleagues and I have the opportunity to make the short trek to Danville, KY to chat with Dr. Carmen Coleman, superintendent of Danville Schools.  Danville schools, a Kentucky Department of Education District of Innovation and winner of a NextGen Learning Challenge grant, is doing some very innovative things around curriculum, assessment and accountability, and teaching roles.

Danville SchoolsOne of the many cool things happening in this small Kentucky town is the Danville Diploma.  Started in 2012, the Danville Diploma is the new definition of what high school graduates will experience while serving as a tool to align learning at all levels of the system.  The document begins with a list of skills students will have upon graduation including perseverance, creativity, initiative and leadership.

The Diploma goes on to spell out requirements for earning the credential, including:

  • Demonstration of mastery at key transition points (5th, 8th, and 12th grade) throughout their academic career
  • A commitment to service learning in areas of interest to the student
  • From no later than the fifth grade, students create different pathways to college and career readiness
  • All students taking AP or college-level course

The beauty is in the simplicity of the Danville Diploma.  Dr. Coleman and her district listed out what they expected their student to have experienced and be able to accomplish upon graduation.  Everything else they do is based that.  In fact, it “has been the foundation for discussions and work towards drafting the District of Innovation application.”

For more information about what’s happening in Danville, you can check out their Districts of Innovation application here.  If you’re interested in viewing the entire Danville Diploma, it can be found on pages 36 and 37 of the linked document.

Jesse Moyer

Written by: Jesse Moyer

Jesse Moyer is the Senior Director, School Development with KnowledgeWorks. He is a believer in public education working and passionate about family, sports and fishing.

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